CHINESE Railways is to invest 1bn yuan to boost maximum speeds on its network during the 10th five-year plan period, running from 2001-05. Minister of Railways Fu Zhihuan announced on March 30 that all trunk lines will be upgraded for 160 km/h operation of passenger services and 120 km/h for freight. Other lines will be improved for 120 and 90 km/h.
Work is already under way to boost speeds on the Lanzhou - Urumqi corridor, which should be cleared for 140 km/h by July 1. Journey times are to be cut from the October timetable change, bringing Urumqi - Beijing down from 60 to 48h and Urumqi - Shanghai from 64 to 51h.
To be included in the 10th plan is a 360 km coastal route between Wenzhou and Fuzhou, serving Rui’an, Pingyang, Fuding, Xia’pu, Ningde, Luoyuan and Lianjiang. Linking Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, the project is costed at 7bn yuan. Construction of the Meikou - Kanshi link connecting Fujian and Guangdong is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Shanghai Railway Administration confirmed at the end of March that work will start this year on the planned 357 km route between Nanjing and Qidong, serving the north bank of the Yangtze river (RG 11.99 p687). The 3bn yuan line is being financed jointly by the Ministry of Railways and Jiangsu provice, and is expected to take three years to build.
- The Ministry of Railways has completed its feasibility study for the proposed line from Dali in Yunnan province to Lhasa in Tibet. This costs the 1594 km route at 54bn yuan. n